As the bitterness of the infamous spat between Greg Chappell and Sachin Tendulkar during the 2007 World Cup has faded, the former has finally reacted publicly, admitting that he should have gone a little easier on the Little Master.
The conflict had erupted over Tendulkar's batting position. Chappell with the backing of then captain Rahul Dravid had wanted Tendulkar to relinquish his opener's position and bat lower down the order. The conditions in the Carribean were such that Dravid and Chappell felt that only someone of Tendulkar's or Virender Sehwag's calibre could handle taking the innings forward during the middle overs.
"It wasn't just me alone. Rahul Dravid was also involved in the thinking which felt the matches were going to get decided in those middle overs and you needed the brilliance of either a Sachin or Sehwag to play in that position," Chappell revealed.
Sehwag rejected the idea point blanks, but after much needling, Tendulkar accepted the role-change rather reluctantly.
"Sachin finally agreed. Next day he got back to Rahul. Though he made it known that he was not happy doing it. He felt that his reputation demanded two places higher in the order," he recalled in the interview.
In hindsight, Chappell said he would have given the same suggestions but would have allowed Tendulkar to decide.
"...that experience has taught me a lesson. Today confronted with a similar situation I would still put the idea across to him and explain. But if he shows any kind of discomfort I won't push. I would let him decide," he said.
In an emotional interview following the World Cup, Tendulkar stated that his commitment to the team had been questioned by Chappell. But the Australian denied this and said that they had reconciled and parted ways amicably.
All's well that ends well, as they say. Chappell is no more on the scene, Tendulkar is apparently flourishing with Gary Kirsten at the reins and Team India is raring to go for what promises to be rip-rolicking ride this World Cup.